Physical therapy has always been shrouded in mystery, and the truth is many people don’t really know what it is. Some think that physical therapists only stretch muscles, or rehabilitate athletes. Others feel as though physiotherapy is an intense massage, or even just a way to avoid being stiff after a workout. As a physical therapist with many years of experience, I can honestly say that, despite all these conflicting ideas about physical therapy, one thing remains constant: most people believe we heal pain. And yes – we do heal pain, but what most people don’t understand is that physical therapy is NOT only about healing pain… it is about SO much more than that. This may sound controversial, but keep reading. [...]
As a physical therapist, I deal with pain on a daily basis in one form or another. Back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, neck pain, ankle pain… they’re all part of my daily experience. Pain is such a common experience for most individuals at some point in their lives, and yet the truth is that so many people don’t know the first thing about what pain actually is. Pain is mysterious, and for many of us, pain is actually completely and utterly confusing. I’d like to shed some light on the darkness, tackling the definition of pain one step at a time. [...]
We know that for many of our patients running is a passion. The truth is, however, so many of those same patients visit us because of injuries related to their runs. Far from telling them to stop running, our main goal is to prevent debilitating knee/foot/ankle injuries BEFORE they happen, and to keep our patients as active as possible. [...]
Have you ever woken up, taken that first step, and felt a shooting pain running through your foot? How about when you go grocery shopping and find yourself leaning on your cart more than you’re pushing it? Heel pain affects most people at least once in their lives, and though it can be nagging, debilitating, and often simply irritating, it can be overcome. In this post, I take a look at the most common causes for heel pain and what to do about them. [...]
The sacroiliac joints are weight-bearing joints that distribute weight from the spine to the lower extremities via the hip joints. They also act as shock absorbers. Several muscles influence the movement and stability of the sacroiliac joint, and due to the central position, hard, bony structure and strong ligaments, the joint is usually very reliable. Yet the sacroiliac joint can also be a major source of lower back pain.
The reasons why so many people are plagued with lower back pain are as numerous as they are varied. One of the most common reasons of this pain is a condition called spondylolisthesis, or 'spondy' for short. The spondy condition occurs when the lumbar vertebrae, the building blocks that makes up our spine, have 'slipped' forward.
When medical professionals talk about a 'hernia', they are generally referring to the
protrusion of an organ beyond the cavity, which normally contains it. Such a condition can
also involve the discs in your spine. A spinal disc serves as a cushion between two
vertebrae. If the outer part of the disc degenerates, the inner portion can rupture or bulge.
This bulging is called a herniated disc.
In some cases, herniated discs can recover without any intervention or through medical
treatment. If the problem continues and the sufferer finds themselves still in pain after two
weeks, a medical professional should be contacted.
What are the most frequent causes of disc herniation?
The pain from a herniated disc can appear entirely random and sometimes arrives
completely out of the blue. However, the damage is usually the result of a gradual process.
The spinal discs in children contain a lot of water, which is why kids spines are extremely
flexible. By the time we're adults, our discs have begun to dry out. They become brittle and
vulnerable to cracks and tears from relatively mild movements.
Working in jobs that are physically demanding, lifting weights to keep fit, picking up a bag
of shopping from the floor, a misjudged swing of a golf club or even something as
mundane as turning to get in the car can cause a disc to herniate.
The people most at risk are between the ages of 35 and 50, with 50% more men suffering
from the condition as women. Other, less common causes of disc herniation are accidents
or injuries, which can put so much pressure on the lower back that a disc herniates.
What are the best non-surgical treatments for disc herniation?
For millions of sufferers all around the world, physical therapy has played a major role in
the treatment of herniated discs. The methods used do not only bring about immediate
pain relief, but they can also teach and condition the body to learn how to avoid such
injuries in the future.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the level of pain and some other important
factors, treatment for a herniated disc can include the following methods:
Deep tissue massage
Hot and cold therapy
Microcurrent Point Stimulation
Besides these treatments, a good physiotherapist will teach the patient exercises to
strengthen the back and to make the return of the condition far less probable. The patient
learns self-care principles to understand better how they can treat their own symptoms.
Plus, they learn the importance of continuing the exercises after the treatment has been
If you're living with the pain of disc herniation, call us today at (281-888- 0047) for a phone
consultation or book an appointment for a discovery visit. We can help you get fast relief
from a herniated disc, and we'll work with you to ensure you're far less likely to contract the
condition in the future.
For some easy tips you can use right now to start easing your back pain, click the link to
download my free back pain guide: https://www.nextlevelpthouston.com/back-pain.html
Do you experience low back pain when you try to stand up? Do you find it difficult to walk even short distances before you have to sit down and rest because it hurts too much? If so, then you could be suffering from a condition called spinal stenosis.
What is spinal stenosis?
A common cause of low back and/or sciatica pain, spinal stenosis is a condition whereby the spaces where the spinal nerves travel through become smaller and smaller and start to close off. Eventually, the space is so narrow it begins to pinch the spinal cord and puts pressure on the root of the spinal nerve. The result is a compressed, or pinched nerve, which causes pain, tingling, or numbness.
What are the signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis?
The nerve compression caused by spinal stenosis can lead to many symptoms, not only around the neck and back but also in the arms and legs. Symptoms such as traveling pains like sciatica, numbness, tingling, cramping, muscle spasms, and general weakness, are common. In severe cases, incontinence or paralysis can also occur.
People who suffer from spinal stenosis experience pain when they try to stand up, especially after sitting for a long time. Other signs may include weakness when walking—in particular when going up or down a hill, ramp, or stairs. It can be difficult for people with spinal stenosis to shop at stores without the aid of a shopping cart to lean on when they walk.
What causes spinal stenosis?
Probably the most significant cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis—wear and tear from repetitive injuries and stresses on the neck and back. Osteoarthritis comes from the breakdown of cartilage between weight bearing joints. Osteoarthritis can cause osteophytes, or bone spurs; this can further narrow the space in the spine and compress the spinal cord or spinal nerve.
Other causes of spinal stenosis include poor posture, disc herniation or bulges, tumors or cysts, and an inappropriately treated injury to the spine. Spinal stenosis is more common in people over 50 as osteoarthritis and bone spurs tend to develop over a person’s lifetime.
People who have sedentary lifestyles and sit for most of their day are at risk for osteopenia; if left untreated can lead to increased risk of osteoarthritis and stenosis.
What are the treatment options for spinal stenosis?
If disc degeneration or herniation is the underlying cause of the spinal stenosis, non-surgical decompression provided by a physical therapist can have an extremely high success rate among patients. The treatment involves applying specific, gentle traction to the damaged areas of the spine.
The traction causes a gentle stretching of the spine and helps open up areas that have become closed off, which in turn relieves pressure on the pinched nerves. Once this pressure has been removed from the surrounding nerves, the pain and symptoms caused by spinal stenosis begin to diminish.
Physical therapy will also help clients to strengthen their spine so they will become more mobile and be able to tolerate more stress on their body without increased back pain.
Another treatment option for spinal stenosis is MPS (microcurrent point stimulation) therapy. MPS therapy utilizes a device on the body to relax muscles, calm the nervous system and release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. It has been shown in studies that MPS therapy is more effective for pain relief when compared to acupuncture, TENS units and massage.
We can help
If you've been experiencing any back pain with numbness or tingling down your limbs there's a strong possibility you're the victim of spinal stenosis. Call us today at (281) 888-0047 for a free phone consultation or office discovery visit where you can learn how we can help you return to life without back pain.
If you’d like some easy tips you can use right now to start easing your back pain, click the link to download my free back pain guide: https://www.nextlevelpthouston.com/back-pain.html
Dr. Jack Wong
Leading Physical Therapist In The Houston Area